Top Ten Tuesday: Recent TBR Additions!

Oh hello Tuesday! Aren’t you just going so splendidly!! I didn’t think it was possible for a perfect day to exist! (FYI: I’m pre-writing this post so I’m trying to send out positive vibes to the future)

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List! (I’m interpreting this as additions to my owned TBR) I’m trying to be better about buying books this year since I have the tendency to buy more books than I read. I have recently had a few additions to my TBR thanks to ARCs and some gift cards because those totally don’t count against my unofficial book buying ban.

  • The Binding by Bridget Collins – So, technically this one doesn’t come out in the US until April, but I ordered a copy from Book Depository because I CANNOT WAIT on this one. Go read the synopsis and try to tell me you don’t want to read this book immediately.
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – Do I even need to explain myself with this one? IT’S NIKOLAI FREAKING LANTSOV!
  • The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden – So I’ve had The Bear and the Nightingale on my shelves for ages, but I just bought the last two books in the trilogy. I’m hoping to binge read them in March, while it’s still a bit chilly outside.
  • Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – I was on the fence with this one for a while. There is a lot of hype around it and like I mentioned earlier, I’m trying to buy too many new books. But I’m in the middle of Enchantee right now and I’m really feeling the whole french themed story thing.
  • The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories by Various Authors – I blame this one on my deep love of The Daevabad Trilogy and the kindle sale I found it on. I’m trying to get into more short stories this year so hopefully I get to this one sooner rather than later.
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee – I cannot begin to describe how stoked I am to get to read this one. It sounds like it has a good mix of science and magic and I do love me a good mash up.
  • Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames – I bought this book thinking that it wasn’t part of a series…I was wrong? I feel like I’ve read people saying I don’t need to read Kings of the Wyld first but I don’t remember where I read that. And honestly, my brain could have been making it up just so I could buy this flipping gorgeous cover.
  • The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera – I have been eyeing this book for a little over a year. I finally pulled the trigger on buying it because the cover just draws me in and promises an epic story.
  • To Best the Boys by Mary Weber – This books sounds all kinds of intriguing. Girls dressing up as boys to enter a scholarship competition that is only for men. Oh, and the competition is a maze! So much yes!
  • The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen – Let me just say that I audibly gasped when I opened my mail the other week and saw this ARC waiting for me. Ever since I read the synopsis I have been aching to read this. It’s not out until July but I’m reading this the moment I am done with any Feb/March ARCs that I have.

What are some books you’ve added to your TBR recently?

ARC Review: Warrior of the Wild

This book was sent to me by the publisher per my request. I chose to review it on my own and all views and opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced.

Warrior of the Wild
Author:
Tricia Levenseller
Release Date: February 26th, 2019
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 1.5 stars
Synopsis: How do you kill a god? As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.

Warrior of the Wild really missed the mark for me and a lot of it had to do with the main character. And the world building. And the side characters. And the romance. I guess I just need to say it: I really did not like this book very much.

Let’s start with Rasmira, the main character. I was expecting a fierce, feminist female main character because that’s what the hype around this book was saying. What I got was a girl who by page two of this book was obsessing about a boy kissing her. And sure, fierce warriors can want romance, but it grated on me because there was nothing about Rasmira that seemed fierce to me at all. Rasmira, to me, is the equivalent of a rich white girl who excels at a school sport and receives nothing but praise because her parents are donors to her private school. I got so annoyed whenever she was thinking her “poor me” thoughts. I never connected with her and found her to be whiny, immature, and unlikable.

And then there was the world building. The whole premise of this book is how Rasmira is banished to *The Wild* and must survive to win back her honor. The Wild…isn’t that scary. It’s basically a forest with some wild creatures in it (creatures that never attack unless it is important to the plot, which is basically never). Color me unimpressed. Like, how have so many of the “warriors” from villages been banished to the Wild and then died? Sure, if you go poking around the dwelling of the Peruxolo, the “villain” of the book, you might find yourself at the wrong end of a knife, but by and large the Wild seems like a place where you could take your family camping as long as you have some mild campsite fortifications. And outside of the very not scary Wild, there wasn’t much to be learned about this world. There are a couple villages, we get their names…and that’s about it.

I’m going to mash my issues of side characters and romance into the next paragraph but first a spoiler warning because the next paragraph definitely has some spoilers:

Okay, I will admit that I like romance in my books. At bare minimum I need one longing glance between two characters to enjoy a book. But never, in all my reading, have I been more annoyed and put off by a romance than I was in this book. When Rasmira is banished to the wild she find two boys who have been living in the wild for the last year. Which I thought was cool at first. And then I got to know the boys. Iric and Soren are from the same village and were basically brothers (by choice, not blood). But Soren is basically a selfish pretty boy and manipulated Iric to go out for the warrior trial, which he failed and was subsequently banished, and Soren decided to get himself banished as well because he felt guilty. The friendship and animosity between the two boys felt wooden at the best of times. Then we come to one of my big issues: the “romance” between Rasmira and Soren. The whole basis of their relationship is the fact that they are the only two hetero characters in the wild and the author even writes this observation into the story. It kinda disgusts me that Rasmira learned to trust again by falling in love with another dumb boy, but I guess we can’t all learn our personal strength outside of relationships with men [insert sarcastic eye roll here].

End spoilers.

So all that being said, I did like certain parts of this book. I thought the revelations about Peruxolo were interesting. I liked that this book went in a direction I was not anticipating. While the writing style wasn’t perfect, I was a least consistently drawn into the story, even though I never connected with it. And…I think that’s about it. This book just missed the mark so hard for me. For a book that has been so hyped as a fierce, feminist story, I felt incredibly let down.

Book Review: Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 4.25 stars
Synopsis: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.


Shadow of the Fox is one of those books that I could never quite pin down my feelings on. From the time I started it to right now as I write this review, my rating has fluctuated from 3 stars, to 5 stars, to finally landing on 4.25 stars. I went into this book with fairly high expectations because I have been a fan of Julie Kagawa since I devoured her Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series many years ago. I am happy to say that my exceptions were met.

I think the issue most people will have with Shadow of the Fox is the pacing. And so did I…until I had an epiphany. This book reads like an anime series. I think it was at the scene with the bear and the cave that something just clicked in my head and screamed “This is like an anime!!” From there, I loved the journey we were being taken on. I’m not even a huge anime fan (with the exception of Cowboy Bebop and Shokugeki No Soma), so it wasn’t the fact that it’s like an anime that made me like it. My epiphany just made me understand the pacing more. I think if people who aren’t familiar with anime go into this book with the knowledge that it isn’t paced like your average YA fantasy novel, they will enjoy it more.

Yumeko, who I consider the main character, is sixteen-year-old half human and half kitsune who has been raised by the monks at the Silent Winds Temple. After her home is destroyed, she sets out on the journey the head monk of the Silent Winds Temple gave her before he died: take the temple’s portion of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers to safety. On her journey she meets Kage Tatsumi, demon slayer of the Shadow Clan, and strikes a precarious bargain for him to travel with her as protection. Both are keeping secrets from the other and any slip of truth could destroy the tenuous alliance they have. Both Yumeko and Tatsumi have POV chapters and my BIGGEST issue with this book is the lack of indication that a POV has changed from chapter to chapter. Because the book is written in the first person it can take a minute to figure out whose POV we are reading at the beginning of each chapter. I got more used to it by the book’s end, but in the beginning, it really bothered me. I read this book with a book club and the POV switches were a problem for a lot of people in the group. Beyond Yumeko and Tatsumi, we are introduced to a host of secondary characters that bring mystery, danger, and whimsy to this story. My favorite of the secondary characters is definitely Okame and if any harm befalls this lovable ronin I WILL RIOT!

The thing that initially kicked my rating up to 5 stars for a while was the ending. It was SO GOOD! A certain part of it was predictable but the way it played out was not. There was action and betrayal and the promise for more story. AND THAT EPILOGUE OMG! I’m not sure how I’m expected to live while I wait for the next book, Soul of the Sword. All I can say, is I definitely have a pre-order already in.

At the end of the day, I settled into a 4.25 star rating because the POV issue and weird pacing. Even though I came to appreciate the pacing after a time, it still was rough in the beginning and can be a real make or break situation for a lot of people (there were a few people in my book club who DNFed this book because of pacing). I think this book would be good for fantasy lovers who are looking for a story that is structured a little differently from the typical YA fantasy.

Book Review: The Thief

The Thief
Author:
Megan Whalen Turner
Release Date: October 1, 1996
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis: The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.


Have you ever read a book that you just don’t know how you really feel about when you finish it? Welcome to my problem with reviewing the The Thief. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it just felt…less than I expected somehow. I guess I’m going to start with the good and work my way down.

I loved the ending! Like, hot damn, those were some plot twists. In a book that honestly had me kinda bored most of the way through, the ending saved this one for me. Of all the revelations, I only guessed 1.5 of them. I felt the author was pretty good at keeping us in the dark. Though, as my reading buddy and I learned, if you have a copy of this book with the character index in the back DON’T READ IT! It contains spoilers for this book and the rest in the series.

The writing was very straight forward. No flowery prose here. Even so, the world building was pretty decent and the story flowed. I loved the interludes where we get stories of the gods. My problem fell in the fact that there was horrifically little dialogue. And one thing I hate even more than a lack of dialogue is when the dialogue is described in a paragraph. JUST BREAK IT OUT INTO DIALOGUE DAMNIT! Reading paragraph after paragraph of description and exposition starts to feel like reading an essay and I certainly don’t like doing that.

My other problem was the very slow progress to what I’d consider the action of the book. The first half of the book, literally down to the page, is spent journeying. That’s 140 pages of walking about and getting to know each other (again, with very little dialogue). And while I mostly enjoyed getting to know the characters, I got kinda of bored with it after a while. What drove me on was the knowledge that something good would happen, because many of my friends have said they love this book so I knew action had to be on the horizon.

Going back and reading this review, it sounds like I don’t like the book. But that’s not really the case. I felt like this was just part one of a larger story and I am very intrigued by this larger story. I’m hoping that maybe as the story goes on we get some good female characters because The Thief was sorely lacking in that. I got just a hint of what seems like a good set up of political/court intrigue and I do love me some good intrigue. I guess what I’m trying to say is I will definitely be continuing with this series because I see the path of where it is going and I want to take that journey. Assuming I get some damn dialogue.


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Waiting on Wednesday: ALL THE 2019 BOOKS!

Well folks, it’s the last Wednesday of 2018. Instead of focusing on just one book I’m waiting on, I’ll be featuring one for each month of 2019. And because I am terrible at choosing just one, there are going to be more than a few honorable mentions for the months where more books have already been announced. Seriously, I’m the worst at making choices.

January
Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]
I just finished The City of Brass, the first book in this series, the other day and hot damn do I need this next book in my life right now.

Honorable Mentions: King of Scars (1/29), The Vanishing Stair (1/22), Ship of Smoke and Steel (1/22)


February
Smoke and Summons
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: February 1, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]
I read and loved The Paper Magician series by this author. When I stumbled upon the fact that they have a new book coming out I immediately added it to my 2019 TBR.

Honorable Mentions: Spectacle (2/12), A Soldier and A Liar (2/19), Last of Her Name (2/26), Stolen Time (2/5), Four Dead Queens (2/26)

March
A Question of Holmes (Charlotte Holmes #4)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

This series is one of the few contemporary books I will read. Probably because twisty and dark and just so damned dramatic in all the way I love. Even though the cover makes me want to scream in rage (ORANGE? WHY? WHY? WHY?), I will be picking this one up the moment it is released.

Honorable mentions: The Fever King (3/1), The Waking Forest (3/12), Once & Future (3/5), To Best the Boys (3/5)

April
Wicked Saints
Author:
Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

Look, just go read the synopsis and try to not add it to your TBR. Go on, I’ll wait here…

Honorable Mentions: (April is gonna be a good month, btw) The Devouring Gray (4/2), Descendant of the Crane (4/2), The Raven’s Tale (4/16), We Rule the Night (4/2), The Hummingbird Dagger (4/16)


May
Aurora Rising
Author:
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS ONE OMG IS IT MAY YET

Honorable Mentions: DEV1AT3 (5/2019), We Hunt the Flame (5/14), Dark Shores (5/7), Nocturna (5/7)


June
Blood Heir
Author
: Amélie Wen Zhao
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I found this one through #bookstagram and damn does it sound good.

Honorable Mentions: Seven Deadly Shadows (6/4), The Beholder (6/4)




July
Dark Age
Author:
Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I’ve been reading the Red Rising books since the first one came out in 2014. Brown, besides being brutal to his reader’s emotions, is a creator of worlds and characters that I lose myself in. I am counting down the days until Dark Age is in my hands.

Honorable Mentions: The Merciful Crow (7/30), The Storm Crow (7/9), The Beckoning Shadow (7/2), Grimoire Noir (7/23)

August
House of Salt and Sorrows
Author:
Erin A. Craig
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I hate Summer and August is the most summery of the summer months. This book sounds dark and mysterious and will be a perfect world for me to escape into during my summer month dread.

Honorable Mentions: Wild Savage Stars (8/27)


September
Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicles #3)
Author:
Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

MIA FUCKING CORVERE. Enough said.

Honorable Mentions: The Girl the Sea Gave Back (9/3), Serpent & Dove (9/3), A Treason of Thorns (9/10)


No Cover Image Yet…

October
Into the Crooked Place
Author:
Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: October 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

The synopsis has some of my key words: black magic and young crooks. Also, I’m here for the Crooked Place. I love names like that.

Honorable Mentions: Ninth House (10/1), Beyond the Black Door (10/29), The Never Tilting World (10/15)

November
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)
Author:
Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I mean…it’s Shadowhunters. So I’m sold.

Honorable Mentions: The Sky Weaver (11/12)


December
…I’m sure there is something that will be released in December that I’ll be waitin on. I just don’t know what it is yet  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If this has shown me anything, its that there are a lot of good books to read next year!

Waiting on Wednesday: Never-Contented Things

Never-Contented ThingsNever Contented Things
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: FAIRIES! (Okay, not a genre, but still…FAIRIES!)
Publisher Website/Pre-order Links

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seductive. Cruel. Bored
Be wary of…

Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries―until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price―and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.

Okay, first off: when you use words like “seductive”, “cruel”, and “fairy” that is a sure fire way to get me to pre-order a book. Which is exactly what I did when I stumbled upon this book. I cannot wait until I have this sumptuous looking book in my hands.

I love different author’s takes on fairy lore and I am excited to see what Sarah Porter brings to the table. I’ve never read anything by this author so I’ll be going in with a fresh slate when I get this book.

 

What are some key words that get you excited about a book?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Audiobook Performances

The theme for today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, was basically DO WHAT YOU WANT! And what I want to do is scream from my blog rooftops about my DEEP AND UNDYING LOVE FOR AUDIOBOOKS! I’ll save my full rant for another post next year (yay for future rants!), but I’m just gonna throw this out there: AUDIOBOOKS COUNT AS READING!

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff…THE LIST!

  1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – Narrated by James Marsters
    Storm Front, the first book in the Dresden Files, was the first audiobook I ever listened to. I will admit that the first few books were a little rough with narration, but once Marsters gets into his groove it is AMAZING. His voice has always been highly pleasurable to listen to (anyone else a fan of his from Buffy?) and I will never say no to a chance to listen to a 14 book series read by him. Side note: his voice for Toot-Toot is stellar and never fails to bring a smile to my face.
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  2. Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown – Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
    The narration of this trilogy is bloodydamn brilliant! The rawness of Tim Gerard Reynolds voice brings such depth to this already fiercely beautiful story. There were moments where I had to stop what I was doing because I was so intensely drawn into the story through the narration.
  3. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, Aedin Moloney
    Okay, yes…this is book 4 of Red Rising, which went from a trilogy to a saga this year. But I decided to do a separate entry because Iron Gold is told from 4 different POVs and there are 4 separate narrators. Each narrator brings a unique depth to their POV character and once again the intensity of Brown’s words are dialed up to 11 via the narration.
  4. Ready Player One & Armada by Ernest Cline – Narrated by Wil Wheaton
    I mean, was there anyone else more perfect to narrate these books?
  5. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas – Narrated by Elizabeth Evans
    The voice of Elizabeth Evans IS the voice of Celeana Sardothian. There is no doubt in my mind. She brings to life the brash, confident, and vulnerable parts of Celeana. I intend to finish my audio reread of the series next year (I only made it through Heir of Fire before Kingdom of Ash came out and I HAD to read that book ASAP) and I am nervous about listening to the final book. Evans brings a lot of emotion to her narration and Kingdom of Ash was hard enough to read.
  6. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli – Narrated by Pearl Mackie
    Pearl Mackie’s voice is like butter. Smooth, delicious, emotional butter. I actually couldn’t get into this book when I was trying to read the physical copy. But the moment I tried the audiobook, at the recommendation of Delara over at @bookwnoname, I was hooked.
  7. Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo  – Narrated by Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, Fred Berman, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Elizabeth Evans, Tristan Morris
    This was the first full cast audiobook I listened to. And with the exception of the person who narrates the Jasper chapters, I was thoroughly impressed with the narration in this duology. It was surprisingly easy to track each different narrators versions of all the character voices. My one problem was the narrator for Jasper. His voice was wonderful, but there wasn’t enough distinction in his inflection when he spoke for other characters. Other than that, the performances were spot on and full of emotions that added a whole other layer of “feels”.
  8. Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare – Narrated by James Marsters
    Yes, James Marsters gets two mentions on this list because he is JUST THAT GOOD. Lord of Shadows had one of the most emotionally traumatic endings in a recent YA book and it was made all the more painful with Marsters’ narration. I was full on sobbing in my cubicle. He uses his voice to evoke such emotions. I’ve been listening to Queen of Air and Darkness while waiting for my physical copy to show up and it is tearing me apart listening to the subtle dread and despair he brings to the opening of this book. Also, as always, his pixies voices are spot on and delightful.
  9. Mistborn (ERA 1 AND ERA 2) by Brandon Sanderson – Narrated by Michael Kramer
    Kramer is like a narrating god. According to my friend who got me into audiobooks, Kramer narrates a lot (and often with his wife, Kate Reading). I’ve never listened to anything by him except the Mistborn books and if those are any indication of his talent, then I consider myself a fan. I am partial to Mistborn Era 2, and Kramer really shines with the rawness of Wax and the many accents of Wayne. This is one of my favorite fantasy series, in both physical and audio form.
  10. The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff  – Narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Johnathan McClain
    Okay, so…this is cheating a little bit because I haven’t actually listened to these yet but I just KNOW I’m going to love them. Illuminae was my favorite book I read this year and I’ve heard the audio is beyond stellar. I also realized as I was looking up the narrators that Olivia Taylor Dudley does some of the narration and I LOVE HER (y’all, go watch The Magicians RIGHT NOW! She plays Alice!). The books are incredibly unique in their format and I can’t wait to hear how it all plays out via audio. These will be my first audiobooks of 2019.

 

Do you listen to audiobooks at all? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

Top Three Thursday: Prettiest Book Covers

Hello all and Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I am jumping in quickly to drop some beautiful book covers on you before I am lassoed back into the kitchen to help with the cooking. The theme for Top Three Thursday, hosted by A Cosy Reading Blog, is prettiest book covers.

Damsel by Elana K Arnold (Goodreads)damsel

 

There is something about the way the title GLOWS that just draws me in (also the amazing synopsis). I’ve been wanting to pick up a copy since it came out and I think I’ll finally remember to grab one when I do some shopping at Barnes and Nobel on Black Friday.

 

 

 

unkindnessAn Unkindness of Magicians by Kate Howard (Goodreads)

 

I was first drawn to the title of this book, then the synopsis, and then HOT DAMN THIS COVER! It is even more beautiful in person. Sadly, since I am terrible with keeping up with my TBR, this book remains unread. If I don’t get to it by the end of 2018, I certainly will be reading it in 2019.

 

 

 

The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien (Goodreads)two towers

 

One of the things I love to do most is search through used bookstores for different editions of The Lord of the Rings. I’ve got quite a few editions on my shelves, about 5 different editions of each book. But when I found this copy of The Two Towers I just about died. I love this cover so, so, so much!

 

 

What are some of your favorite pretty book covers?

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Want to Say Thank You To

Happy Thanksgiving week, book people! If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, HAPPY WEEK IN GENERAL! It’s time for stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Oh, and being thankful! The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a freebie so I went with Top Ten Authors I Want to Say Thank You To. One thing I’m intensely thankful for is books and the people that create them. Giving words to the world is a terrifying thing and whenever I think about meeting authors of my favorite books the only thing I want to say to them is “Thank you for giving me these words and these worlds.”

  1. Patrick Rothfuss – I need to thank that man for The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. From the first time I read these books, so many years ago, all I’ve wanted to do is thank him for creating these characters and writing these stories. They have brought me such pain and joy and I loved every moment of them.6gljmNkVHxuuY
  2. Tamora Pierce – She gave the world some serious kick ass female characters in YA before kick ass females were the norm. And for that she should be thanked.3oz8xIsloV7zOmt81G
  3. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – For serious snark and reviving my love of sci-fi stories.10avZ0rqdGFyfu
  4. Brandon Sanderson – This man builds the most wonderous and dangerous worlds and I have loved every moment exploring them.3otPoOxyDTXjzpMbIY
  5. Clarie Luana – The Confectioner’s Guild is one of my favorite reads of the year. I spent the whole time reading it with a smile on my face and that is what reading should be.z2HC00n6pfcA
  6. Holly Black – For writing deliciously dark faerie tales that helped me escape some truly terrible times in my 20s.4lpctAAV9Azpm (1)
  7. LJ Smith – Every one of Smith’s books was a friend to me in high school.xT5LMAS7woru73f6xi
  8. Leigh Bardugo – For giving me such good character studies and wonderfully dark worlds to traverse.3o7TKANQ6OeCp3oxvG
  9. Pierce Brown – The Red Rising saga is equal parts ridiculous, amazing, intense, unique, and wonderful. Reading them has taken me on such a wild ride and my reading life would be much duller without them.jr0VZIBH5dKDe
  10. JK Rowling – For everything.3ErmSXChvkv5u

Who are some author’s you want to say thank you to?

Book Reviews: The Spellwork Syndicate

Hello bookish peoples! I’m here today with TWO reviews. I stumbled upon Sugar Spells (The Spellwork Syndicate #2) on NetGalley the other month and once I got approved to read it I immediately went and bought a copy of the first book, Deadly Sweet, on Amazon. I’ve recently found that I have a sweet spot for magical murder mysteries that involve food magic. So let’s dive into this scrumptious story…

Deadly Sweet (The Spellwork Syndicate #1)deadlysweet
Author: Lola Dodge
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy (YA/NA)
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spell books in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad no one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.

Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.

The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.

If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?

Deadly Sweet is fun, if sometimes slightly aggravating, YA urban fantasy that involves two of my new favorite things: magic and baking. Anise Wise is our plucky main character who leaves her sheltered life behind after unfortunate incident and goes to live with her Great Aunt Agatha in the witch friendly town of Taos. Once Anise gets to Taos she finds it is not exactly what she expected. Not only is she sent to beginner baking classes to improve her skills but she is saddled with an extremely rude bodyguard with no real explanation as to why. After a near death experience, Anise decides to try and find out what happened to Agatha’s previous apprentice.

In general, I liked this book. It was a fun, quick read with a unique setting and magic system. The problem was I wanted to learn more about the magic system. I felt like we just got the bare bones of witches could do in this world. I liked that witchcraft was known to the world at large and that there were specific cities where witches basically ruled.

There were a lot of characters but I only want to focus on Anise and Wynn, the bodyguard. One thing I like about Anise is she is not some all powerful witch. She is average, she is a young adult who has young adult thoughts and attitudes, and she struggles like so many young adults do. However, she can be very fickle in her thoughts and sometimes make really, really poor choices. And then there is Wynn. Look, I like a grumpy love interest as much as the next book nerd, but Wynn is just an asshole. And not for any good reason. This guy…I just want to punch him. ALL THE TIME. His interactions with Anise are pretty degrading. I get that he is a bodyguard and his duty is to protect Anise, but all this guy does is sleep and act like a misogynistic prick. And Anise’s reactions to him are aggravating to say the very least. There is no communication at all. Like, Anise should have called out his attitude to her aunt and then they all could have had a nice little chat to get any bad feelings out in the open and the move the heck on. But, the antagonism between Anise and Wynn serves to create conflict that leads to the action at the end so I guess there is that…

All in all, this a decent paranormal YA/NA book. It did feel like it was lacking a little bit of magic, but I generally enjoyed reading it. Read this book if you love baking and/or need a quick and fun read.

FYI: There are spoilers for Deadly Sweet below.

sugarspellsSugar Spells (The Spellwork Syndicate #2)
Author: Lola Dodge
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy (YA/NA)
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Goodreads Synopsis: After her run-in with a jealous warlock, apprentice baker Anise Wise can’t wait to get back the kitchen where she belongs. But thanks to her brush with death, the land of the living isn’t all cupcakes and marshmallows.

Anise’s magical mojo is way out of whack and her evolving powers are stirring up trouble. As the town buzzes with news that Anise can bake deathly spells, unsavory characters start lining up for a taste. They’ll stop at nothing for the chance to use Anise and her witchcraft to further their own plots.

She plans to hole up researching magic recipes until the attention dies down, but then she discovers the horrifying terms of her bodyguard’s contract. Wynn has saved her life so many times, she can’t leave him trapped. But doing the right thing will mean risking death or worse—being cast out of her dream job.

For this witch, justice might not be as sweet as advertised.

Sugar Spells was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher at my request. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own and are not influenced in any way.

I’m going to start this off by saying the first book in this series should have been called Sugar Spells, and this book should have been called Deadly Sweet. I mean, the whole book is about death magic…okay, now that that is out of the way (seriously, it’s been bugging me for weeks), let’s get to the actual review.

Also, since this is the second book in the series there will be some spoilers for the first book, Deadly Sweet.

Sugar Spells jumps straight into Anise Wise’s next set of woes in her life: after her near death experience with the villain in Deadly Sweet, her magic has become tainted with death magic. All her bakes are self destructing and she is banished from Great Aunt Agatha’s bakery incase her death magic messes with the aura of the bakery. On top of that, Anise learns the terms of Wynn’s shield contract and decides to help him buy out the contract so he can go live his life. Both these issues lead us to the creepiest character, Girrar. He is a vampire, which also inhabit the witch friendly town of Taos, and is the ultimate creeper. He wants Anise’s death magic baked goods and is willing to pay a lot for them. I won’t go into too much more, but we all know nothing good can from all of this.

Wynn and Anise were a little less antagonistic in this one. Wynn, getting his tragic backstory finally told, is a little more relaxed in this. But honestly, it doesn’t make up for how much of an ass he was in the first book. I see where things seem to be heading with Anise and Wynn, and while I’m not 100% on board with it, I can handle it. I think my main problem is I don’t really care for either Anise or Wynn. I don’t hate them, but I haven’t found myself rooting for them either.

Again, this was a quick, fun read, but it felt like it was lacking a layer of the story. The villain situation was weird in this one and while I won’t go into details for spoiler reasons I can say that the big bad they have to face is forgettable. Like, I don’t remember anything about it. I don’t want to use the term “fluffy read” because it’s not a fluffy book, but it is lacking a bit of depth. Still, I enjoyed myself while reading it and I am looking forward to the third book.


While I enjoyed these two books for the most part, there was just something missing. It was like one of those cute, delicious looking cakes you see in a shop window but when you actually get to eat it you find out it is mostly over sugared frosting and very little cake. And as much as I like frosting, you need a solid cake to make things really good.